Do I Have A Pear-Shaped Body?

Do I Have A Pear-Shaped Body?

Tips to flatter your figure and help you feel more confident and body positive

Do You Have A Pear-Shaped Body?

A rose by any other name is still a pear-shaped body. It goes by many other names including A shape, triangle, spoon, bootylicious, and a variety of other names but it essentially means you’ve got a gloriously curvy lower half and narrower shoulders.

As the second most common female body shape, just over 20 percent of women have this figure.

This article and the video below are part of the Stunning Style Know Your Body Shape Series! Join us live this week (March 29th-April 2nd) as we explore a different body shape each day at 1pm ET on the Stunning Style Facebook page (HERE) or the FREE Capsule Wardrobes for Classic Style Facebook Group.

Monday 3/29 @1PM ET: Rectangle Body Shape
Tuesday 3/30 @1PM ET: Inverted Triangle Body Shape
Wednesday 3/31 @1PM ET: Pear Body Shape
Thursday 4/1 @1PM ET: Apple Body Shape
Friday 4/2 @1PM ET: Hourglass Body Shape

Defining Proportions of a Pear-Shaped Body

As a pear-shaped woman, your defining proportion is that your shoulders are narrower than your hips. That doesn’t mean you necessarily have narrow shoulders, although many of you do, but they are NARROWER than your hips. This can be a subtle difference, or one that’s more dramatic. Very slender women may notice a smaller distinction, and it can be more difficult to identify or you can have an extremely narrow torso and very full hips.

April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.
April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.
April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.
April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.

The stereotypical version of a pear-shaped body is a woman with very narrow shoulders, a slim torso, small bust, enviably narrow waist, and a full, curvy, rounded bottom, hips and thighs. Not all pear-shaped women fit perfectly into this mold, and, just as with other body shapes, there are as many variations of pears as there are variations of shoes.

This model has a pear-shaped body.
This model has a pear-shaped body.
This model has a pear-shaped body.

Despite the stereotype, pears can be busty, have a straight waist, a smaller bottom, and broad shoulders, but the key measurement is that the shoulders are narrower than the hips.

Defining characteristics for a pear-shaped body.

Other Possible Characteristics

You are blessed with curvy, shapely thighs, hips, and bottom and you can have shapely calves as well. Your thighs often come to a point at the widest part

Katie Holmes wearing a cream button down top and jeans.
Katie Holmes wearing a white blouse and jeans.
Kim Kardashian wearing a green leather body suit.

You tend to have slender arms compared to your legs, and a well-defined, narrow waist. While your waist is usually narrower than your hips, that can change with weight gain and age. Your shoulders may be sloped or straight. Your hip measurement is usually larger than your bust measurement, but pears can be busty (shoulder to hip measurement is more important than bust, so focus on that). Your shoulder to hip measurement is most important when determining your proportions.


Your musculature tends to be naturally softer. You can get toned, defined muscles, but it takes more effort than other body shapes. One of my favorite workouts is The 30-Day Shred, not only because it’s fast and effective, but one of Jillian’s workout partners is a very toned, very fit, pear-shaped woman named Anita.

Most fitness models and before and after fitness examples are either rectangle or inverted triangle-shaped women. And as we talked about last week in loving your body now, understanding what your body shape is and what it can look like is so freeing. It was so refreshing to see a fit, healthy woman with my body shape.

Anita from The 30-Day Shred has a pear-shaped body.
Anita from The 30-Day Shred has a pear-shaped body.
Anita from The 30-Day Shred has a pear-shaped body.

Lynda Carter, the original Wonder Woman, is another example of a strong, powerful pear-shaped woman.

Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman.

A pear-shaped woman gains weight from the waist down first, including lower abdomen, hips, seat, thighs and calves, and your proportions become even more obvious. The last place you gain is from the waist up. With weight gain you may go up a pant size or two and not at all in your top.

You tend to wear a smaller clothing size up top and a larger size on bottom, or at least you probably should for best fit. Your biggest shopping challenge is finding pants that fit your curvy bottom without leaving a gap in the waistband. My new masterclass, It’s Not You, It’s the Pants! Four Tips to Find the Perfect Pants so You Never Have a Muffin Top Again, we talk about how to get pants that fit you right. It’s free, and you can sign up with the link above.

For many pear-shaped women, their primary complaint is a proportionally larger bottom, hips and thighs, but they are really your best assets!

Common Myths

The typical pear shape is lauded for having a very narrow waist, but that’s not true across the board. If you have a short torso, that extreme waist taper isn’t possible, and you may have a very straight waist. But, because of the proportions from torso to hips, you will still look like you have some waist.

Beware of body shape calculators that don’t factor in your shoulders. According to the ones I’ve tried, I’m a rectangle because of my hip to waist ratio, but I’m definitely a pear. Rectangles have straight hips and legs, and mine are absolutely not straight. If I followed the straight body type recommendations I would constantly be wondering what’s wrong with me because the clothes that are so fantastic on them will not fit me properly.

April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.

The second myth is that all pear-shaped women have a small bust. While that is the most common version, your bust size can vary from very small to very full.

Kim Kardashian wearing a grey dress.
Kim Kardashian wearing a gold dress.
Alexis Bledel wearing a pink top and jeans.
Alexis Bledel wearing a white and black dress.

Pear Vs Hourglass

You lean towards an hourglass shape if you’re busty. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and Oprah have all been mistakenly identified as hourglass figures because they are busty, but their shoulders are narrower than their hips. An hourglass-shaped woman will equal shoulder and hip measurements. Not only that, but hourglasses don’t have the full, rounded, curvy rear a pear does. Their hips mimic yours from the front view, but from the side and rear view, their bottoms are flatter than a pear-shaped woman’s bottom.

Jennifer Lopez has a pear-shaped body.
Jennifer Lopez has a pear-shaped body.
Christina Hendricks has an hourglass figure.
Christina Hendricks has an hourglass figure.

Pear Vs Apple

You lean towards an apple shape if you gain weight in your tummy, especially after childbirth and menopause. Melissa McCarthy is actually a pear-shaped woman, but when she was at her peak weight, her body shape resembled more of an apple body shape. Menopause, childbirth, weight gain, and other factors can add to your midsection, but a true apple will have narrower hips than shoulders and her body will make a V shape in the back. She also will have slender legs, even when she gains weight, and a flat bottom.

Melissa McCarthy wearing a purple dress.
Melissa McCarthy can appear to be an apple with a wider midsection.
Melissa McCarthy wearing a floral skirt and black top.
But, she has a pear-shaped body and her hips are her widest point.
Drew Barrymore has an apple body shape.
Drew Barrymore has an apple body shape.

Pear Vs Rectangle

You lean toward a rectangle shape if your waist is straighter and not very defined, which is much more likely if you have a short torso, and/or your waist thickens after childbirth and menopause/hormonal shifts. A pear-shaped woman can also lean toward a rectangle shape if the difference between her hips and shoulders isn’t as dramatic, but her thighs will still tell the story.

A true rectangle will have straight thighs, rather than your curvy thighs, and a flatter bottom.

April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.
I have a pear-shaped body.
April from Stunning Style has a pear-shaped body.
My waist isn't narrow, it's straight, but I am still a pear.
Kate Middleton has a rectangle body shape.

Famous Pear-Shaped Bodies

Two of the most notable pear-shaped bodies include Jennifer Lopez and Beyoncé. Both of these women have narrow shoulders, a defined waist and curvy hips, and they were the first to embrace their curves in an industry that wanted to cover them up.

Other classic pears include Michelle Obama, Kate Winslet, Claire Danes, Kiera Knightly, Oprah Winfrey, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Linda Carter, and Jennifer Anniston.

Jennifer Lopez wearing a pink monochromatic outift.
Jennifer Lopez wearing a white top and green pants.
Beyonce wearing a white top and jeans.
Beyonce wearing a green dress.
Michelle Obama wearing a black dress.
Michelle Obama wearing a green dress.
Kate Winslet wearing a silver dress.
Kate Winslet wearing a white and black dress.
Claire Danes wearing a patterned top and black pants.
Claire Danes wearing a patterned dress.
Keira Knightley wearing a black dress.
Keira Knightley wearing a black jacket, t-shirt and jeans.
Oprah Winfrey wearing a gold dress.
Oprah Winfrey wearing an orange top and jeans.
Jennifer Love Hewitt wearing a red dress.
Jennifer Love Hewitt wearing navy top and pants.
Jennifer Anniston wearing tan pants and a white top.
Jennifer Anniston wearing shorts and a dark grey top.

How to Dress a Pear-Shaped Body

Highlight and Accentuate Your Best Assets

Most body shape courses and articles focus on hiding or covering parts of your body, which adds to the shame and media lie that we all need to achieve an impossible ideal. Your pear-shaped body is perfect, it’s beautiful, and we don’t want to cover anything up. Instead, we are going to direct the spotlight to accentuate and highlight specific parts of our bodies.

Think of a stage production. The lighting crew shines spotlights on certain parts of the stage to draw your attention to the place they want you to look. It could be because they want to direct our eyes to where the most important action is, to distract us from something like a set change, or because they are trying to achieve an effect like telling us we are seeing a memory, a weather change, or magic.

We can do the same thing with outfits, spotlighting the parts where we want to focus their attention, and use that to make them see what we want them to see. When you work with, not against, your naturally fabulous features it’s so freeing. I want you to fall in love with your body because it’s amazing!

Your Spotlight Goal

Your hips, thighs, and seat are like your bubbly, fun, giggly, gorgeous, attention-stealing friend or sister. Even when she isn’t trying, she steals the spotlight and makes you feel like a wallflower.

Your lower half is fabulous in every sense of the word, and it doesn’t need any help in getting attention, but your upper half needs the upper hand. It’s a little quieter, more subtle, and elegant when people can see past your curvy half long enough to pay attention to it.

Not to mention your pants are the largest amount of real estate in your outfit, by double! So basically your bottom half has everything going for it already, even in the plainest pants. Don’t help your curvy lower half steal the spotlight from your equally lovely, but not always as noticeable, upper half by giving it a microphone and theme music too.

The goal of a pear-shaped woman is always to shine the spotlight on your torso from the waist up. You want to bring the eye up to your gorgeous face and out to your shoulders and visually widen them. You can do this with lighter colors, jewelry, pattern, and other details that will act as your spotlight directing attention where you want it. You are not trying to hide your fabulously curvy bottom, we are trying to balance it with your narrow top.

If you think about making your outfit lighter and most interesting from head to waist, and darker and less interesting below the waist, that’s a great way to work out where to put color and details such as pockets, frills, flounces, pattern, sheen, etc.

The Biggest Outfit Mistakes a Pear Makes

In an effort to cover up or hide their glorious curves, many pear-shaped women wear oversized tops that are too long. They think if they cover their hips, seat, and thighs in a top that could double as a tent, no one will see. First of all, nothing needs to be covered or hidden. Second of all, it’s stealing the spotlight from your upper half even more. This is a lose/lose situation where none of your fabulousness gets to shine.

Instead of trying to put a gag your giggly, gorgeous, fun lower half, let it shine on its own, and give your upper half the microphone so every part of your amazing body gets to shine.

Whatever word you prefer to use to refer to your pear-shaped body, learning to dress it so you highlight your best assets will give you the confidence to finally embrace your beautiful shape.

This post contains an affiliate link, which means if you purchase through my link I get a small commission, but it doesn’t cost you anything extra. Thanks for supporting my blog!

10 thoughts on “Do I Have A Pear-Shaped Body?”

  1. Thank you April. What about the Pear who has the fuller high hip and then goes straight down from there like a rectangle?

  2. Loved the part about tunic tops. Not sure if I wore them to cover up my hips and thighs or to cover up the huge waist gap in the back of my pants or both. Looking forward to the pant master class. So hard to find pants that fit in my waist, hips and thighs. Have recently lost weight but mostly hip and waist- minimal loss in my thighs.

  3. Thank you, April.

    I didn’t realise that I was a pear until I did your Quiz.
    I have a full bust (32FF), short torso and a FLAT bottom.
    I’ve always tried to minimise my bust. This is revolutionary for me.

  4. Floretta Taylor

    Hello April, what a fantastic presentation! Always knew I was a pear, u shed the light on how to appreciate and make it Fabulous! Floretta

  5. Best explanation ever!!! The images really helped clarify for me (eg. Drew Barrymore’s legs not filling out the pants). And I also appreciate the helpful explanation that Pears have issues defining muscle and that our pants are often a different size than tops. Thanks April!!

  6. I never would have thought I was a pear shape either until I did your quiz and worksheet. I have a fuller tummy since having babies and now heading into menopause so I assumed I was more of an apple because that’s where I gain my weight first. I have no defined waist but my shoulders and upper half are more slender. I’ve always been smaller on the top and only recently been wearing a medium on both top and bottom since gaining some menopause and Covid weight. Happy I did the worksheet or I would have automatically been dressing an apple. Thanks April! Can’t wait to learn more!

  7. I didn’t know I was a pear shape! All the other body shape calculators told me I was a rectangle or an hourglass, but I was was frustrated because I really, didn’t think I was either. I finally realized I had mis-measured my shoulders and that they are more of a subtle difference between my hips, plus I am busty which added to the confusion. This really cleared things up for me!

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